Chinese Medicine uses cupping, or fire cupping, as a therapy that uses jars attached to the skin by a negative pressure either by using fire or vacuum suction.
Cups have a warming quality and create a free flow of qi and blood throughout the meridians. Cups can flush the toxins from your body and stimulate the lymphatic system.
Cupping is successful in treating conditions of muscle pain and swelling. Cups can alleviate pain of the upper and lower back, legs, shoulders, and from sprains and strains.
This therapy can also be used for gastrointestinal problems such as; stomachaches, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, respiratory problems that include coughing, asthma, and common colds can also be helped.
The way it works is by the jars drawing the skin up and creating a localized reaction on the skin which may be a pink, red or violet color. Previously, jars were made mostly of bamboo, but now they are mostly made of glass or plastic. Transparent cups allow us to see the extent of the localized reaction which is occurring at the skin level.
The cups can be moved as a form of massage or left in place for 5 to 10 mintues. The bruises at the local areas can be dark but not painful and should diminish within a few days.
Reference: Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion by Cheng Xinnong